On A Roll

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

I’ve been somewhat crazed and monomaniacal for the past few months working
on a big project. It’s the kind of thing that could make or break my career, so I
have had much less time for the hand-holding chit-chatty kinds of conversations
that I am often the one to initiate with friends. In general I am a caretaker
personality, and often give my friends up to 80% of a given conversation to talk
about their troubles. Now, while I have been gloriously optimistic and energized
(the external world notwithstanding), they have been struggling with all manner of
tsoris. In the past week two if them have snapped at me while I’ve been talking
about the upside possibilities in my future. How should I approach them to make

On A Roll

Dear On a Roll:

In a real friendship, people understand that sometimes the balance of
up and down, happy and sad, etc will fluctuate and be uneven. Most
friends are happy if their buddies succeed, and even grab onto the
coat tails of their joy and energy to help pull themselves out of a
trough. If two of them snapped at you it is a signal that you may have
crossed some invisible line, where no matter how attentive you have
been in the past, they simply don’t have the reserves to cope with
your positive energy now.

Take a little break from schmoozing till you finish your project, say a
week or so. Any attempt to mend the rift now will look self-serving and
even insincere. Then reach out and ask how each is doing and if
there’s anything you can do to help them through whatever their
immediate stress is about. If you really are a caretaker, you’ve
probably helped them in the past, so if they’re smart they will let
bygones slip away and say thanks and tell you how to be useful. At
worst, just go back to listening. If your project pays off, be sure to
start off with, Are you ready for some fabulous news from my life?